New National Team Director for Iraq?
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Monday, November 30, 2009

New National Team Director for Iraq?

by Nick Mulder at 12:16 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Former Dutch national team director, Egon van Kessel, is considering a proposal he received from Iraq’s cycling federation to head their national team. The Dutchman met with federation in Teheran to negotiate a deal and iron out some final details.

“Financially we have struck a deal,” confirmed Van Kessel to De Telegraaf last night. “They have expressed their interest in me, however before I agree I have a final demand. I find it most important that the national team takes part in a number of races in Europe. I will discuss this matter with them shortly” he explained.

The Iraqi cycling federation was tipped by former Dutch professional Danny Nelissen who has worked as their advisor for a number of years hoping to improve Iraq’s presence in the cycling world. Nelissen is also on the lookout for a national director to coach Iraq’s female cyclists.

Van Kessel seemed like a good fit having worked as national director for the Dutch selection, coaching riders such as Michael Boogerd, Koos Moerenhout, and Leon van Bon from the junior level upwards.

“The past years I’ve received diverse offers from smaller teams but this adventure really interests me” he said. “The development aspect is crucial for me. The level of the Iraqi cyclists is decent, at the continental level they have no problems. However, if they want to take another step forward then they will have to race several months in Europe. This message is what I communicated to the Iraqi federation. If we reach an accord, then I will sign the contract.”

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